A mob of far-right activists held a small protest outside the home of tánaiste Leo Varadkar yesterday. The group of roughly 30 protestors accused the tánaiste of being a paedophile and of being responsible for the deaths of people because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Politicians across the country have voiced their disgust at the targeting of Varadkar. Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald described it as “outrageous and shameful” with minister for further and higher education, Simon Harris, calling the protest “Sickening, repulsive, disgusting behaviour”.
This isn’t the first time that far-right activists have targeted politicians and members of the government. In 2019 Sinn Féin TD Martin Kenny was the victim of an arson attack after his car was burned out while he was at home. And last year the National Party organised protests targeting Green Party TD and minister for children Roderic O’Gorman.
Far-right conspiracies and violence
A small group of far-right protestors gathered outside Varadkar’s home at around 1pm on Sunday, 19 September. The protestors displayed a number of placards calling the pandemic a “lie” and calling for the government to “Leave our kids alone” in reference to the vaccinating of children against COVID-19. Others claimed the government exaggerated the death toll and that the COVID-19 vaccines are “experimental”. At one stage the crowd started chanting “Save our children”.
Amongst the protestors was well-known far-right activist Graham Carey. While livestreaming from outside Varadkar’s home he called the tánaiste a “treasonous snake”. He also made a number of homophobic remarks about the Fine Gael leader as well as saying that Varadkar’s a paedophile. Carey went on to imply that Varadkar is involved in the coverup of child sex abuse along with members of the judiciary.
Carey, who is known for posting videos of himself online in which he screams about various conspiracy theories, has also previously targeted Jewish people. In a livestream in July he said Jewish people want to implant a chip in every child. And when it becomes more widely known that Jewish people have been doing this for “financial gain”, he says we’ll “need to wipe the Jews out”.
Also present was Dara O’Flaherty, whom a judge previously issued a bench warrant for after he threatened to kill a garda and his family. He was also arrested in March this year after breaching security at Leinster House. According to the Independent he was charged with trespass, abusive and insulting behaviour, public intoxication, resisting arrest, and failing to give his name when a garda requested him to do so.
Joining O’Flaherty was fellow far-right and anti-mask activist Andy Heasman. Last year a judge sentenced Heasman to two months in prison for breach of public order. Heasman was a passenger with Bus Éireann and refused to wear a mask, instead putting it on his head “like a hat”. During the case it was revealed that Heasman had 24 previous convictions.
In response to a query from The Beacon the Garda Press Office disclosed that gardaí “were alerted to a number of protestors outside a residence in Dublin 8” yesterday. The spokesperson said “Gardaí attended and the protest ended without incident”.
“Vile” and “homophobic”
The public and politicians have uniformly expressed their disgust at the targeting of Varadkar. Posting on Twitter Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald called the incident “homophobic, bigoted intimidation” as well as “outrageous and shameful”. She also called for the protestors to be “held to account”.
Her comments were echoed by minister for further and higher education Simon Harris. He argued that what took place “has no place in a democracy, must be condemned by all & called out for what it is”. Social Democrat TD Gary Gannon called the protest “nothing short of vile”. And that “Blatant homophobia has no place in our Republic and should be confronted wherever it occurs”.
Far-right activists and groups have stepped up their campaign against politicians since the pandemic began. Last year the National Party held a large protest targeting minister for children Roderic O’Gorman. And just last week far-right protestors gathered outside the home of health minister Stephen Donnelly.
Featured image via Screenshot